Thursday, March 28, 2013

Oz, the Great and Powerful


So, have you heard about this new movie, Oz, the Great and Powerful? I'd heard about it but thought I'd skip it because I've seen the The Wizard of Oz many times, and I didn't want to watch another Hollywood remake. The Wizard of Oz had been a major part of my youth. Every year I'd looked forward to the time when it would come on TV. It was an event. And today most everyone has seen the movie a gazillion times because they own the DVD. What in the world could Disney do to add to this classic film?

Oh my stars! A lot!

I was totally surprised by how much I liked this movie.The story is about the wizard, Oscar Diggs played by James Franco, who is a small-time circus magician with dubious ethics. He gets caught in a tornado and lands in Oz. The special effects were fantastic. This is not a remake but a prequel that fills in the blanks of the original story.

However, be warned, this movie is not for small children. The flying monkeys and other animals are very scary.

In case you're interested, here's the movie trailer.


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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Expressing Gratitude

Akseli Gallen-Kallela [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


Expressing our feelings to others can be difficult. In a Templeton survey they found 90% of respondents said they were grateful for their families, and 87% said they were grateful for their closest friends. However, only 51% said they reflect daily on their gratitude and only 48% actually expressed those feelings on a regular basis.

Hmm, makes a person wonder why there's such a big disconnect between how we feel and what we think and say. And especially when it comes to the people we love the most. I suppose some may feel that those closest to them should know how they feel without saying it. But do they? Do we have to actually vocalizes appreciation or do our actions speak louder than words.

Do our friends know how much we cherish and value their friendships? Do our family members know how much we love and appreciate having them in our lives? And what about our spouses?

Friendships . . .
I love my friends, and I hope they know it. I've often wondered what I could do to show how much I appreciate them. An unexpected thank you note helps, but I want to do something more. A friend told me that for Valentine's Day she and her daughter decided to have an appreciation lunch for five of their closest friends. She said it was amazing. After their friends arrived she and her daughter told each of their friends five things they appreciated and loved about them. Everyone had a wonderful time and became even closer. What a great idea! I'm definitely going to give that a try.

Family . . .
You see your family most every day. You eat your meals together, live in the same house, surely they know that you love them. But what if they don't? Yikes! Sometimes just going out of your way to make their favorite meal, slip an encouraging note in their lunches, or even just sitting together and watching a movie shows that you care. However, why not top it off with three little words, I love you. I know when I tell my grandson I love him, he gives me a hug and something melts inside my heart.

Spouses . . .
My husband rarely says he loves me out loud, but I know he cares because of what he does. It's the little things: filling my car up with gas, going out on wintery nights to buy chocolate, or taking out the garbage without my asking. His actions say a lot. Sometimes he'll do something nice and I don't see it for a week or so. He's not one to boast, so I really need to be on my toes. But when I do realize he's done something and I say how much I appreciate it, he gets a big smile on his face.

Doing little acts of kindness coupled with being recognized with someone saying thank you goes a long way in letting people know we love them. Saying I love you is important, but so are our actions.


In what category do you fall? Do you let your actions speak for you? Do you say the magic words thank you and I love you? Or do you do it all?



  
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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Gaze Into Heaven - by Marlene Bateman Sullivan


A couple of years ago I had the pleasure of doing a book signing with Marlene Bateman Sullivan. She has a new nonfiction book out that looks wonderful, Gaze Into Heaven.

Below are a few quotes about the book...

This book is a carefully compiled collection of more than 50 near-death experiences that occurred during the early years of the LDS Church. These documented accounts give fascinating glimpses into the Spirit World by those who have actually been there. Besides being filled with stories of insight and inspiration Gaze Into Heaven has pertinent quotes from latter-day Prophets and other leaders, scriptures, and perceptive commentary. After reading this book, you will never think of life--or death--in the same way.

Most of us have wondered exactly what will happen when we die. What does the Spirit World look like? Will we see departed family members and friends? What do people do there? Do spirits there know what is happening on earth? What did people who had near-death experiences learn from their visit? All of these questions and many more are answered in Gaze Into Heaven.

There have been many books written about modern day near-death experiences, but this book is the first to focus solely on those that took place in early church history. Studying near-death experiences can bless us with a better understanding of this life and increase our knowledge of the life to come. By reading about those who actually entered the spirit world and saw conditions there, we can benefit from the insights they gained and use that information to reevaluate our lives and use our time on earth productively.

Here is the back cover blurb:

With this book, Marlene Bateman Sullivan has done a valuable service for Latter-day Saint readers. Previous life-after-death studies published brief extracts from numerous sources and combined them to define spirit-world events and conditions. Returning to those sources, she has compiled many of their complete accounts, which add additional insights that will be enjoyed by many. Well done!” Duane S. Crowther, author of Life Everlasting—A Definitive Study of Life After Death 

This book is available at Deseret and Seagull Book Stores. You can also purchase it online at: Amazon, Deseret Book online, and Seagull Book online. If you would like to know more about Marlene you can check out her website.




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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Cover for My Next Novel!!!


I have something wonderful to share with you. Here's the cover of my new novel. I'm thrilled with it. I haven't shared a lot with you about this new release because I thought it wouldn't be out until September,

BUT

my editor informed me a couple of weeks ago that they upped the release day to May!!!

I'm very excited.

Here's the back cover blurb.

Rodeo veterinarian Jo Powers is accustomed to operating under pressure—but nothing could have prepared her for the shocking discovery of the armed and bleeding escaped convict hiding in her truck. 

Even more disconcerting is the fact that Jo knows the man in the prison jumpsuit. Jo’s split-second decision to use her medical skill to save this man’s life is just the beginning, because now he needs her help to uncover the truth. 

Seven years ago, Branson Faulkner was accused of a murder he claims he didn’t commit. With the hope of finding new evidence to prove his innocence, he’s risked everything to clear his name and reclaim his life—but he can’t do it alone. Jo agrees to help, even though she isn’t completely sure Faulkner is innocent. 

Now as Faulkner and Jo conduct their investigation, they discover an alarming connection between a string of homicides, and one truth is clear: there’s a murderer on the loose who will stop at nothing to cover his tracks . . . 

 I can hardly wait to hear what you think of the book. Only one month and two weeks to go!!!



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Thursday, March 14, 2013

How Many Calories Does Writing Burn?

I don't know about you, but I have an awful time passing up dessert. Cake, pie, cookies, they all have my number, so I avoid their calls whenever possible especially while I'm writing. Without thinking I can down an entire cake while I'm working on a book.

As long as I stay busy in my office writing, I'm usually pretty good. But then I'll come across a plot point that isn't working, or a character that doesn't do what I want him/her to do. When this happens, I start fidgeting and will find any excuse to get up from my desk and look for chocolate.

Yes, chocolate is my favorite mode of diet sabotage. Fruit helps to get me off the scent of fudgy goodness, but when I'm really stumped only chocolate will do. I truly believe chocolate makes me think more clearly.

To overcome this problem I allow myself a few chocolate chips every once in a while. And if I keep writing after I eat, I figure I'm burning those little bites of calories. The site FindTheData has this wonderful information about calories burned while writing.

For one hour of writing a person weighing:
100 pounds burns 72 calories,
125 pounds burns 89 calories,
150 pounds burns 107 calories,
175 pounds burns 125 calories,
200 pounds burns  143 calories,
225 pounds burns 161 calories, and
250 pounds burns 179 calories.

Please remember you can't eat and write at the same time to burn that many calories, so don't load up on a bowl of chocolate chips, or potato chips, or whatever is your go-to food. I just thought you might like to know how many calories writing burns.

What helps you stay on track with your diet while writing? What's your favorite go-to comfort food? Do you believe chocolate helps you write?



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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Gratitude Helps

By Jerry Segraves, via Wikimedia Commons
The other night I went to a concert given by the Swanee River Singers. My neighbor, of over 30 years, is a member of that group. Hubby and I wanted to support him. They sang some old classics like, Cindy, Give My Regards to Broadway, and What a Wonderful World.

As I listened I realized it really is a wonderful world we live in. For instance, breathtaking sunsets not only make me grateful to be alive, but remind me of God's hand in our world. Sunsets make me stop and think about how much I'm truly grateful for, though the last little while it has been hard at times.

Over a month ago my husband was laid off work. He'd worked for the same company for over 31 years, so this really came as a shock. It's easy during stressful times to think of all that you don't have. Once you start down that path negativity can really get hold of you and pretty soon you're in a good depression that is hard to get over. So we've tried to look at the good side of this new situation in our lives.

Sometimes things happen for a reason. Being laid off made Hubby reassess, and he decided that now would be a good time to retire. Yikes! We knew this was coming someday, we just didn't expect it now. However, trusting in the power of prayer and putting faith in the Lord, Hubby took this giant step. Retiring seems to be what he's supposed to do.

Just to be clear, I'm not retiring. Writing books has been part of my life. I very much doubt I will ever retire from it. So, though I'm still working, Hubby will be home and able to do more to help me. Yeah! I'm very grateful for that!

There's a saying that I quite like. The more you see the good, the more good you see. Isn't that so true? I know there are times to feel blue. Believe me, I've visited that place more than I like. And it can become hard to stay away from it. But I truly believe that gratitude  helps you rebound from unpleasant situations.

I'm curious how others deal when difficulty comes into their lives.

What do you do to help you rebound from bad times? Does gratitude help? Does it make you look at your world differently? Do beautiful sunsets make you grateful?

I thought you might like to listen to Louis Armstrong sing What a Wonderful World.

    
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Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Really Big Cooking Show



My publisher along with KSLNewsRadio, Seagull Book, and KSL.com are doing a fun event. It’s The Really Big Cooking Show.

This event has everything from cooking demonstrations, recipes, giveaways and tips to help you become a better cook.

They have thirty-minute classes with some great cooks: Cooking with Your Family by Liz Edmunds, Delicious Meals in Minutes by Jeannie and Mindy, Your Cup of Cake by Lizzy Early, and The Best Recipes We’ve Made by Erica Walker and Elise Donovan. There’s a brief intermission between classes.

What's the “when” and “where” that this awesomeness occurs?
When: Saturday, April 13, 2013 – 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. (doors open at 8:00 a.m.)
Where: Thanksgiving Point Barn (3003 N. Thanksgiving Way, Lehi, UT 84043)

Now for the bottom line, how much is this going to cost? 

Tickets are $12.00 if you get them from any Seagull Book Store or online at www.eventbrite.com..

Please be aware that tickets at the door are $18.00.

Sounds like a fun time to me.

For more information on the classes and the cooks go to The Really Big Cooking Show.

 
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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

3 Helpful Tips to Help Organize Your Time

By Ken Marshall from Wikimedia Commons

Last week I missed posting on my blog a couple of times. I was busy trying to get edits to my editor since the release of my book, Wanted, has been bumped up to May. So I just didn’t have time to write my blog and also be with my family. I realized that I NEED TO GET MY DUCKS IN A ROW!

So, I asked in my last posting what others do to organize their time.

Miska said when life gets too busy she just posts on her blog that she has to take a break. I should have done that and if it happens again I will. Thanks, Miska.

Lexa gave some sage advice, "Don't sweat the small stuff." And she's right. The world won't end if I'm late. I think working all those years for an accountant conditioned me to stress over missing a deadline. Lexa was very thoughtful and reminded me to take time for me. Thanks, Lexa.

MK brought up preposting blogs. Once upon a time I did that, and I've got to do it again if I'm going survive the spring. Thanks for the reminder, MK.

Carol, like me, does her best writing in the mornings and does blog business in the afternoon. My problem is my mornings are growing smaller and smaller. Thanks for commiserating with me, Carol.

Laura shared that she writes everything down and it works for her. I used to do this, and I think I'd better go back to it. Thanks, Laura.

As I've thought about this I realized that writing down what you plan to do helps in many ways: you think about it, you make time for it, and you become committed.

You think about it . . .
Seriously, thinking over what you need to accomplish for the week helps a great deal. What a person has to remember is to be flexible with time. This week I have company coming, a hair appointment, an appointment with my dentist, and my writers group. I'm going to try to write what I can, but I'm going to take Lexa's advice and not sweat the small stuff. AND I have already done as MK suggested and preposted my blog this week. Sweet!

You make time for it . . .
Making time to write this week is going to be tricky, but it can be done. I'm going to get up early and write every morning. Since my most productive time is morning, I'm going to rise and shine early each day and write an hour before the house stirs.

 Become committed . . .
I very much want to do this. By telling my family I become more committed, and I’m hopeful the odds increase that I’ll become successful. Commitment is a big deal. It means I’ll do everything in my power to do what I’ve said.

I'm going to be tested this week. I have to remember to be flexible, productive and not worry over the small stuff so I can enjoy being with the people I love.

Thanks to every one for the great advice.




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